The Aldergrove Kodiaks didn't just stumble out of the gates in their second round playoff series against the Abbotsford Pilots.
On March 5, they fell face-first to the ice. But the Kodiaks' 8-1 loss to open the Pacific Junior Hockey League Harold Brittain Conference championship series wasn't a harbinger of what was to come. Quite the opposite.
The local junior Bs stirred awake and proceeded to win the next four games to eliminate the Pilots from the playoffs.
A solid 4-1 win over the Pilots Tuesday at Abbotsford's MSA Arena completed the series victory.
Aldergrove's Spencer McHaffie scored 45 seconds into Tuesday's game.
After that a pair of Pilots lost their bearings. In the last two minutes of the first period, Devon Allenby (hit to the head) and Brett Kolins (charging) were assessed major penalties and game misconducts.
The Kodiaks made the Pilots pay with powerplay goals from Ryan Simpson and Scott McHaffie to take a 3-0 lead into the first intermission.
Spencer McHaffie's second of the game - on yet another Kodiaks' power-play - made it 4-0 in the second period.
Brandon Daase scored Abbotsford's lone goal in the third frame.
Kodiaks head coach Ron Johnson said discipline was the key. The Kodiaks didn't get drawn into the rough stuff.
"It was a [series] of skill and speed and they [the Pilots] thought it was going to be a physical series," Johnson said. "I'm really proud of them [the Kodiaks players]. We kept to a plan. We've had some guys on the team who have had some trouble with discipline in the past. We changed our composure and that won the series. We kept our cool."
The Kodiaks five-game win over the Pilots likely surprised PJHL pundits.
"The kids are believing in themselves at this stage. If you told anybody we'd be beating Abby, everyone would be in denial. We overcame adversity," Johnson said.
"We are sitting key guys out of the lineup with injuries and the team responded to a man. They took it upon themselves to elevate different areas of the game at different times. Everybody contributed."
The Kodiaks will play the winner of the Delta Ice Hawks/Richmond Sockeyes series in the PJHL final.
The Sockeyes lead the best-of-seven Tom Shaw Conference final three games to one.
Game five is tonight in Richmond.